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I was in line to check out at a store the other day behind a woman who was buying two small items. I wasn't paying much attention to her until it became obvious that she was giving the poor lady sales person a hard time about something. From what I could gather, she wanted to make two separate purchases using a 50% off coupon issued by the store on each purchase. The cashier was explaining to her that the policy of the store, which was clearly written on the coupons, was one coupon per customer per day. I have shopped in this particular store numerous times and have never considered this policy unreasonable. Since the coupon can be printed from their site online, any customer could conceivably print out several and come into the store multiple times during the week to purchase multiple items at 50% off. I can easily understand why they wouldn't want you to print out 7 of them and use them all at once and then come back a day later and do it again. Personally, I just think it's great that they have a 50% off coupon at all.
The woman in question however, seemed to think that she was deserved to be granted a special dispensation from the one coupon a day per customer rule because it was going to rain again the next day and she didn't want to come out in it. If she had been an older person, or infirm, or suffering from a handicap, or even someone who had no transportation, I would have been sympathetic, but she was none of those things. She was just someone who thought that she was entitled to special treatment because she didn't like the rain.
The cashier politely explained to her why she could not do it based upon the policy of the store. The lady who hated getting wet was having none of it. She demanded to see a manager. A manager was duly called and once again, politely explained the store policy to the woman. She rolled her eyes and accused the cashier and manager of “hassling” her. Personally, I hadn't heard anything remotely like “hassling” going on, but maybe we had different definitions of the word. She went on to say that they were being deliberately unhelpful and were keeping her from getting to the school bus to pick up her kids and if she was not there when her kids got off the bus she would call the corporate office of the store and complain. She was extremely unpleasant and rude, speaking to them both as if they were lowly servants who were keeping her from her tea and biscuits and trying to harm her children. She was very nasty. I looked at the lady behind me who just pursed her lips and shook her head. Obviously, she was not on board with the nasty either. I despise rudeness and arrogance towards people who are waiting on you in any capacity whatsoever. I find it obnoxious in the extreme, rude, bad mannered, and the epitome of bad behavior. The cashier and the manager had been nothing but polite and had taken enough abuse in my mind, so I said something.
I pointed out to the woman that we all knew the policy and were happy to comply with it and that she was demanding that the cashier and the manager deliberately go against the policy of their employer just for her, perhaps putting their jobs in jeopardy simply because she didn't want to carry an umbrella. She told me that it wasn't any of my business. I responded that I believed that when you witness a person being nasty to another person for no other reason than they think they can get away with it, it becomes everyone's business. It wasn't the strongest argument I've ever made, but it got a round of murmured assent from the rest of the people in line.
In the end, they let her get away with breaking the rules only because she was causing a scene and they just wanted her out of the store. It really irritates me when people are rewarded for being rude and obnoxious, but I understood why they did it. Everyone in line wanted her to go away, too. The lady behind me had a voiced a descriptive word for the woman in question, which I will not repeat here despite it's accuracy.
As I was leaving the store I couldn't help thinking that this incident was a clear indication that the holiday season was upon us. Welcome to the days of people being anxious, frustrated, tired, and generally over burdened and generally unhappy and feeling perfectly justified in being rude, wretched, unkind, nasty, and short tempered with people who they know have to take their abuse because they need to work and live and eat. Hardly in keeping with the spirit of the season, but when did that ever stop anyone? Whether you can't find that present your kid wants more than life itself or your spending too much money and going into debt and you know it, or you just don't want raindrops falling on your head, finding someone to kick always makes it better. Yippee. Tis the season.
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